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Ruth King

An Honest Comey Interview Questions nobody is asking the former FBI director—but somebody should. Kimberley Strassel

James Comey and his memoir are tripping the media light fantastic, though what’s defined that trip so far is its lack of news. Mr. Comey explains the many and varied ways that he does not like President Trump. Mr. Comey explains the many and varied ways that he does like himself. Tell us something we don’t know.

People forget that directors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation—by necessity—are among Washington’s most skilled operators, experts in appearing to answer questions even as they provide pablum. Yet the publicity tour rolls on, which means that upcoming interviewers still have an opportunity to do the country—and our profession—a favor. Here are a few basic questions Mr. Comey should be expected to answer:

• You admit the Christopher Steele dossier was still “unverified” when the FBI used it as the basis of a surveillance warrant against Carter Page. Please explain. Also explain the decision to withhold from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that the dossier was financed by the Hillary Clinton campaign.

• You refer to Mr. Steele as a “credible” source. Does the FBI routinely view as “credible” sources who work for political operatives? Did the FBI do any due diligence on his employer, Fusion GPS? Were you aware it is an opposition-research firm? If not, why not?

• Mr. Steele by his own admission briefed the press on the dossier in the fall of 2016, to harm the Trump campaign, although the FBI ordered him not to. Are these the actions of a “credible” source? The sourcing in these articles—particularly one that ran in Yahoo News—was hard to mistake. Yet the FBI soon after assured the FISA court that its “credible” source had not spoken to the media. Either the FBI failed to follow up on the stories, or it did and Mr. Steele lied to your agents. Which is it? CONTINUE AT SITE

Raul Castro Gives Up Cuban Presidency By Mairead McArdle

For the first time in almost 60 years, Cuba has a head of state from outside the Castro family.

Raul Castro, 86, stepped down Thursday morning as president, handing the reins to his hand-picked successor, the much younger Miguel Diaz-Canel, who has been vice president since 2013.

Castro, 86, inherited the presidency from his brother, who had ruled the country with an iron fist for nearly 50 years, in 2008. Despite relinquishing the presidency, he is set to remain head of the Cuban Communist party and the country’s armed forces, which has led some observers to wonder how much freedom Diaz-Canel, 57, will have to exercise the powers of the office. At the same time, the move has touched off speculation about Cuba’s future as one of the last remaining Communist states, given its widespread poverty and need for structural reforms.

Diaz-Canel was born after the Fidel Castro’s Communist revolution, and has been curiously reluctant to share his opinion about it for someone who’s spent his life rising in the political system Castro created.

“I was born in 1960, after the revolution,” the future president told U.S. lawmakers in 2015. “I’m not the best person to answer your questions on the subject.”

He has a reputation for promoting more access between Cuba and the outside world, but he does not hesitate to censor and quash influences that run counter to the one-party state’s interests. In November, he said that “we continue to be open to relations” with the U.S. But last month, he complained that the Trump administration had “offended Cuba” and “attacked and threatened” the revolution.

Cuomo Calls Himself ‘Undocumented,’ Draws Ire from Immigrant Groups By Mairead McArdle

New York governor Andrew Cuomo raised eyebrows last week when he called himself “undocumented,” even though he was born and raised in New York.

“Unless you are a Navajo or an Apache or a Comanche or a Native American you too are an immigrant,” Cuomo said last Wednesday at a 32BJ union rally. “I am a born and raised New Yorker. Born in Hollis, Queens. Raised by poor immigrants from South Jamaica [Queens],” he added, glossing over the fact that both his parents were born in New York.

The next day, at a bill-signing ceremony, Cuomo continued in the same vein:

I’m an Italian-American, I came from poor Italian-Americans who came here. You know what they called Italian-Americans back in the day? They called them wops. You know what wop stood for? Without papers. I’m undocumented. You want to deport an undocumented person, start with me, because I’m an undocumented person.

(Cuomo’s explanation of the slur’s origins is in doubt. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary pinpoints the slur’s roots in the Italian word “guappo,” meaning “street tough” or “thug.”)

Immigrant-advocacy groups quickly rejected the governor’s claim of solidarity.

“His parents weren’t immigrants, his family wasn’t poor, & he has no idea what it’s like to [be] undocumented,” said Antonio Alarcon of Make the Road Action, New York’s largest immigrant-rights group. “Governor Cuomo’s recent pattern of falsehoods and exaggerations about his life story is a sad and disturbing turn of events for New York. It’s disturbing because it serves to diminish and undermine the very real struggles of millions of New Yorkers.”

Enoch Powell’s Immigration Speech, 50 Years Later By Douglas Murray

Enoch Powell was Britain’s Conservative Minister in 1993

His language is sometimes shocking, but the concerns he raised have never gone away.

The 20th of this month marks a significant anniversary in Britain. For it is the 50th anniversary of what is probably the most famous — and certainly the most notorious — speech by any mainstream politician since the war.

On April 20, 1968, Enoch Powell gave a speech to the Conservative Political Centre in Birmingham on the subject of Commonwealth migration, integration, and possible re-emigration. It was a carefully chosen moment, and a carefully chosen intervention from a man who was then the shadow defense minister in the Conservative opposition of Edward Heath. Powell knew what he was about to do, telling a friend who edited a local newspaper, “I’m going to make a speech at the weekend and it’s going to go up ‘fizz’ like a rocket; but whereas all rockets fall to the earth, this one is going to stay up.” For half a century, Powell’s speech has certainly lingered in some fashion — whether by staying up or by rumbling away underneath Britain’s political debates.

The fact that the speech, which (although the phrase itself does not occur) became known as the “rivers of blood” speech, remains strangely alive in Britain was demonstrated again last weekend when the BBC chose to broadcast a program to reflect on the half centenary of the speech. The program included critical analysis, contextualization, and reflection. But most crucially, the BBC chose to have the actor Ian McDiarmid read the entire speech aloud — the first time this had been done on radio, apparently (only portions of the original speech having been recorded at the time). Although the BBC broadcast the speech in segments, with critical commentary interspersed, to go by some reactions, it was as though the BBC had chosen to go full Nazi on the British public.

The moment the program was announced, prominent figures such as Andrew (Lord) Adonis (a former Labour government minister) condemned the BBC, accusing the corporation of “an incitement to racial hatred and violence.” Surprisingly enough, Twitter did not in general react well to the announcement of the broadcast. And so once again Britain wound itself up into that specific lather Powell still manages to create even two decades after he went to his grave.

Of course, if anybody had stopped for a moment, they might have realized that the catatonic fury that Powell and his speech still provoke is itself highly suggestive. Had the BBC chosen to broadcast a speech by a leading member of the Flat Earth Society last weekend, it is unlikely that the reaction would have been like this. Amused, certainly. Contradicted by experts, for sure. But not the basis of days of organized hate and fury on social media and off it. Indeed the reaction to the broadcast of the full text of the “rivers of blood” speech proves once again that even after half a century, Britain has not reconciled itself to Powell or some of the specific points he was making in 1968.

Progressive professors behaving badly By Thomas Lifson

Two professors, one in California and one in New Jersey, are reportedly under investigation by their employers for behavior that at a minimum is rude and arrogant and that, some hope, could cost them their jobs. I believe that both are exemplars of the moral hazard that accompanies the exalted status accorded professors, often aggravated by the practice of granting tenure.

Tuesday evening, following news of the death of Barbara Bush, Professor Randa Jarrar, who teaches creative writing at Fresno State University, violated the norms of decency when she tweeted:

…and followed up with tweets obviously intended to inflict emotional pain on the family survivors:

To top it off, she tweeted a taunt that she is invulnerable thanks to her status as a tenured professor.

High School History Book Questions Trump’s Sanity, Calls Supporters Racists By Megan Fox

Imagine finding this quote in your kid’s history book, calling you a racist, angry bigot because you voted for Trump:

Trump’s voters saw the vote as a victory for the people who, like themselves, had been forgotten in a fast-changing America–a mostly older, rural or suburban, and overwhelmingly white group. Clinton’s supporters feared that the election had been determined by people who were afraid of a rapidly developing ethnic diversity of the country, discomfort with their candidate’s gender, and nostalgia for an earlier time in the nation’s history. They also worried about the mental stability of the president-elect and the anger that he and his supporters brought to the nation. [Emphasis added]

This gem was found in the high school AP History book entitled By the People, A History of the United States, published by Pearson Education. Source sent photographs of the material to WNOW radio program “The Joe and Alex Show.” The book pulls no punches when it comes to criticizing Christians as terrified bigots. “Those who had long thought of the nation as a white and Christian country sometimes found it difficult to adjust.” The book continues on, calling Trump an outright racist. “Trump tapped into a sense of alienation and ‘being left behind’ that many voters–most of all white poor and working-class voters–felt. But quite unlike Sanders, Trump was also extremely anti-immigrant, especially attacking Muslim immigrants.”

But if that’s not bad enough, don’t worry! It gets worse!

“Most thought Trump was too extreme a candidate to win the nomination, but his extremism, his anti-establishment rhetoric, and, some said, his not-very-hidden racism connected with a significant number of primary voters.” CONTINUE AT SITE

Six Months in, #MeToo Has Become Infantilizing and Authoritarian Bad dates are “abuse.” Putting other women out of work is “empowerment.” How did it go so wrong?By Joanna Williams

It’s six months since #MeToo began trending on social media. Since then, those two little words have sparked a conversation about the sexual harassment of women that has spread across the globe and into every walk of life. Half a year on it’s time to take stock and ask what women have gained from this movement.

The accusations made against Harvey Weinstein by numerous actors and employees and reaching back over decades are by now skin-crawlingly familiar. Yet the New York Times story in which actress Ashley Judd and others first publicly detailed Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct, leading to his resignation just three days later, could have made headlines for a week and then been consigned to history. Instead, the story continued apace and the list of victims—and those accused—grew.

One week later, actress Alyssa Milano tweeted: “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” Milano hadn’t realized she was employing a phrase first coined by activist Tarana Burke as a means of offering solidarity to women victims of sexual violence. More than a decade later, and with celebrity backing, #MeToo spread rapidly to become a global movement that extended far beyond social media.

Joining in with #MeToo is an attractive proposition. Women sharing their stories become part of a community (albeit one that exists more in their imagination than in reality); they gain validation for their suffering and the moral beatification afforded to innocent victims. Significantly, #MeToo doesn’t appear to be about women wallowing in victimhood; on the contrary, it seems empowering. The more high-profile men that were accused, found guilty following trial by social media, and left with livelihoods and reputations ruined, the more the #MeToo movement grew emboldened.

No doubt some men have abused the power they held over women: they should be tried in a court of law and, if found guilty, punished accordingly. But those of us seriously concerned about women’s rights need to move beyond the euphoria of belonging to a powerful movement and honestly appraise the impact of #MeToo. When we do, we find a number of reasons to be concerned.

#MeToo has become an orthodoxy intolerant of criticism or even question. Women who have suggested that it may have gone too far, that conflating rape with crude flirtation risks trivializing serious incidents and falsely demonizing innocent men, have been hounded for thought crimes. Katie Roiphe prompted outrage when it was rumored she might go public with a list of “shitty media men” that had been widely circulated among writers and journalists. Roiphe recalls that “Before the piece was even finished, let alone published, people were calling me ‘pro-rape,’ ‘human scum,’ a ‘harridan,’ a ‘monster out of Stephen King’s “IT”‘ a ‘ghoul,’ a ‘bitch,’ and a ‘garbage person.’” Catherine Deneuve and over 100 other prominent French women were met with a similar tsunami of name-calling and criticism following their public letter comparing #MeToo to a witch hunt. The result has been a censorious closing down of debate through a crude division between “good women” who stick to the #MeToo script and “bad women” who digress.

Revealed: Robert Mueller’s FBI Repeatedly Abused Prosecutorial Discretion By Mollie Hemingway

Establishment DC types who reflexively defend Mueller haven’t explained how they came to trust him so completely. It’s a question worth asking given the bumpy historical record of Mueller’s tenure as FBI director.

Journalist Mike Allen of Axios recently said that one word described Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and that word was “unafraid.”

The context for his remarks on Fox News’ “Special Report” was that Mueller had just spun off to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York a bit of his limitless investigation into President Donald J. Trump. Allen’s comment was like so many others from media and pundit types since the special counsel was launched. If there’s one word to describe the media’s relationship to Mueller, it’s “unquestioning.”

Pundits and politicians have said, repeatedly, that he is “somebody we all trust” with “impeccable credentials.” No matter what his office does, from hiring Democratic donors to run the Trump probe to aggressively prosecuting process crimes, he is defended by most media voices. Criticism of Mueller by people who aren’t part of the Trump Resistance is strongly fought, with claims that disapproval of anything related to Mueller and how he runs his investigation undermine the rule of law.

The media and establishment DC who reflexively defend Mueller haven’t explained how they came to trust him so completely. It’s a question worth asking given the bumpy historical record of Mueller’s tenure as FBI director from 2001 to 2013.

UK: “Teacher Handbook” Supporting Extremism? by Andrew Jones

Britain’s educational authorities also failed to note the underlying message of the Teacher Handbook: that jihadist violence is justified when committed by those who believe themselves to be victims. This is a crucial point: it accepts at face value what might only be many Muslims’ perception of “victimhood.”

Despite the Teacher Handbook’s questionable attempts to align Islam with secular, Western principles such as human rights, fundamental British values are undermined by the very content of theTeacher Handbook.

No amount of Western appeasement can counter jihad, which is, as openly admitted, a global expansionist project.

Many religious texts have violent verses, but in Islam people still live by them.

Sweeping reforms in Britain’s education system are having an unintended dangerous consequence: the infiltration of extremist Muslim influence on the teaching of Religious Studies.

This influence is visible in The Oxford Teacher Handbook for GCSE Islam, authored by a small team of educational specialists and Muslim community leaders. The purpose of the manual is to guide British teachers lacking in-depth knowledge of Islam to help their students pass the Religious Studies General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE), the UK’s public examination for pupils at the end of Grade 11. This academic study of religions is an optional but relatively popular subject in British high schools — 322,910 students took the examination in 2017, out of a total GCSE cohort in all subjects of 3,694,771.

The understanding of Islam — absorbed by a significant proportion of each year’s 300,000+ Religious Studies students (whose school chooses to take the Islam module) — is sufficient to create a national climate of opinion, given that the GCSE is a near-essential first stepping-stone to higher education and influential professions in British public life. It is therefore alarming that a portion of such influence has been granted to the Islamic scholar and activist, Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, a co-author of the Teacher Handbook, who oversaw his fellow authors’ contributions.

Turkey’s Erdogan Threatens France by Uzay Bulut

“Why hasn’t any ‘kind-hearted’ anti-Assad Arab state (e.g. Saudi) taken any Syrian refugees? Shouldn’t countries that spent billions on arming militants (including terrorists) in the name of ‘liberating’ Syrians take refugees in? The only Syrian refugees that got attention in the Gulf states are the vulnerable underage girls they bought in the name of marriage.” — Dr. Abbas Kadhim.

“Why not bring Christians and Yazidis from the Muslim world here first?… Finally, why not bring Muslim girls and women who are already in flight from honor-based violence, including from honor killing, here next — before we extend visas, green cards and asylum to Muslim boys and men?” — Professor Phyllis Chesler.

“It is ironic that millions of Muslims are trying… to reach the borders of a civilization they have historically blamed for all the world’s evils… is it ‘Islamophobic’ to point out that there is no war in Greece, Serbia, Hungary, or Austria?” — Burak Bekdil, BESA Center for Strategic Studies.

Last month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan slammed French President Emmanuel Macron for his recent offer to mediate between Turkey and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), saying he hopes Paris will not ask Ankara to help when terrorists fleeing Iraq and Syria arrive in France:

“With this attitude, France has no right to complain about any terrorist organization, any terrorist, any terrorist attack. Those who sleep with terrorists, welcome them in their palaces, will understand sooner or later the mistake that they made.”

On April 7, hours after a man ploughed his van into pedestrians in Münster, Germany, Erdogan threatened France again, referring to the incident: :

“France, [you are] being a stooge… providing support to the terrorism, you are hosting terrorists at the Elysée Palace… You are seeing what is happening in Germany, right? The same will happen in France. The West will not able to free itself from terror. The West will sink as it feeds these terrorists.”